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BMW Z4: Buying guide and review (2003-2008)

BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Launched in 2003, the BMW Z4 roadster was the long-awaited replacement for the extremely successful Z3 - BMW’s first foray into the mass-market two-seater sportscar segment. Controversial Chris Bangle-era styling, electromechanical power-steering and the adoption of run flat tyres met with some criticism at launch, but the well balanced handling and great range of engines ensured that the Z4 carried on its predecessors success story.

With its focus on handling and driving dynamics, the Z4 earned itself a reputation as a great drivers’ car, the M versions in particular are already becoming modern collectors cars. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
There are a large number of engine variations to choose from, however the basic running costs for the non-M six-cylinder models are quite similar, making the larger capacity variants – which provide a decent hike in power over the 2.2-litre cars – highly desirable. The 3.0-litre model in particular is a great compromise between the full-fat M variants and the lower models in the range, and was also the only non-M car that was made available in Coupe form. 

The Coupe, introduced in 2006, is a significantly rarer car than the soft-top. Thanks to the much more rigid body structure handling is even better, while there’s a slightly more usable luggage space in the back too. Ride quality on standard suspension is very firm, meaning that cars with sports suspension and big wheels can be surprisingly uncomfortable on anything other than smooth road surfaces. 

The base 2-litre four-cylinder cars are eager, and not much slower than the 2.2-litre models. They also use much less fuel and cost less to maintain, so if outright speed is not a priority then these models are a great compromise. 

At the other end of the scale, the M powered Z4 is a different proposition altogether. Using the 343bhp engine from the heavier E46 M3, and with a full M-spec suspension system, the Z4 M coupe and roadster models took the fight straight to Porsche and Mercedes. The award-winning engine is one of the all-time great naturally aspirated units, providing a raw edged driving experience that will leave you breathless. Running costs are relatively reasonable for a car of this type, although certain M specific components can be pricey - especially if sourced from BMW.

Gearbox options were five-speed manuals and automatics on the early cars, with the facelift introducing six-speed variants. The Sequential Manual Gearbox was made available on a limited number of the 3.0-litre cars and while fun when pressing on, they can be jerky in town driving.

There’s a huge choice whitch means that you can afford to be picky, and it’s absolutely worth driving a few different models. The driving experience between a base spec four-pot Z4 and a sporty three-litre model is surprisingly different.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 2996cc 24valve DOHC I6 
Power 261bhp @ 6600 rpm 
Torque 232lb ft @ 2750rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 5.7 seconds 
Fuel consumption 32.8mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Insurance group 44
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2495mm
Length 4090mm
Width 1780mm
Height 1300mm
Weight 1385kg
 
Common problems

• Parts are readily available and many maintenance items can be sourced from specialists.

• Suspension systems are generally reliable, however the springs are prone to snapping especially at the rear. Front control arm bushes tend to wear out and can be noticed by loose-feeling steering and creaking noises. Strut braces on the rear can break at the weld seams and will require expensive repairs. 

• Electrical systems are reliable, however some owners have complained of erratic wipers requiring motor replacements, which can be costly. Test all the buttons and switches inside the vehicle in case anything is amiss. 

• The interior is well built and there are no specific issues however the seats do rub against the body when pushed right back and can cause irritating squeaks when driving. 

• Engines are long lasting and should be smooth and free revving, especially the six-cylinder models. Power steering pumps can fail on early cars and the cooling system needs to be serviced regularly. The water pump can fail if the correct coolant mixture is not adhered to. 

• On M cars, check that the 1200-mile run in service was done, as failure to do so has been known to result in excessive engine wear. Crankcase ventilation oil separators can clog up and cause damage to the engine, but replacement parts are not unduly pricey.

• On convertible cars check the roof mechanism for any signs of slow operation or creasing in the roof lining. There should be no water ingress so any leaks may indicate an issue with the alignment of the roof or the side window fitment.
 
Model History 


2003: BMW Z4 launched in 170bhp 2.2, 190bhp 2.5 and 228bhp 3.0 litre versions. Five-speed manual and automatic transmission choices available, with SMG gearbox option available on 2.5 and 3.0 litre cars
2005: 215bhp 2.5si and 261bhp 3.0si engines replace older units resulting in lower emissions and higher power outputs. Navigation and heated seats introduced as optional extras, and SMG gearbox now only available on 3.0-litre cars. 2.2i six-cylinder entry level option replaced with 150bhp 2.0l four-cylinder engine.
2006: Mid-life facelift with new colours, wheel choices and minor changes to lighting. Six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes now available. Z4 Coupe introduced with 3.0-litre 261bhp engine,as wells as M Coupe with 343bhp M division engine.
2008: Final E85/86 Z4 rolls off the line
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
• z4-forum.com
 
Summary and prices

Prices start at £3000-£4000 for the earliest cars, and as long as they have solid service and maintenance histories they can carry on forever, so don’t be put off by higher mileages. £6000-£8000 will get you one of the later cars. M Coupes and M Roadsters range between £12,000-£25,000 with condition and mileage being the biggest influencing factors on these cars.
 
The first Z4 has proven to be a great second-hand buy with reasonable running costs and styling that has improved with age. There are a lot of cars out there with a spec level and price to suit most people. It’s also a great way of experiencing the last of the old school BMWs, built before the motoring industry’s move to turbocharging and flappy paddles, so buy one now and enjoy it while you still can.
 
Words: John Tallodi
BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe BMW Z4 3.0 Coupe
Last updated: 4th Dec 2015
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BMW Z4 cars for sale

224 Search results
BMW Z4
4295 29485 GBP
  • BMW Z4

    £17,995 £17,995

    Bluetooth, Climate Control, Full Leather, Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Electric retractable hard top, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Aux point, DAB radio, 19'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 11560 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
    Skinners of Rye Car Sales
  • BMW Z4

    £14,500 £14,500

    Electric retractable hard top, Full Leather, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Xenon Headlamps, Push Button Start, Electric Windows, Remote Central Locking, Parking Sensors, Electric Mirrors, Traction Control, 6 Speed Gearbox, Multiple Airbags, ABS, Heated Seats, CD Player, Height Adjustable Seat, Front Fog Lamps, Anti-Theft System, Alloy wheels

    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £17,995 £17,995

    Bluetooth, Climate Control, Full Leather, Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Sports Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Colour Coded Body, Front Fog Lamps, Electric retractable hard top, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, CD Player, Aux point, DAB radio, 19'' Alloys

    • Mileage: 11560 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 E86 3.2 M-SPORT ROADSTER 1960

    £15,995 £15,995

    2007 (57) E86 BMW Z4 3.2M sport Roadster 6 speed manual.;;Titanium silver met petrol, manual 6 speed.;64000 miles full service history.;Rare factory supplied full lined hard top.;Heated electric memory seats.;M Sport black leather sports seats.;Satellite Navigation.;Alarm system. Auto dim rear view mirror;Reverse park assist;Automatic Xenon headlights ;Automatic window wipers.;Multi function steering wheel for stereo system.;blue tooth mobile connectivity phone package.;Information computer.;Bmw 18inch m-tec alloys with Matching Continental tyres.;;A beautiful full spec car with excellent service history, Just had major serviced with plugs and brake fluid change, All brakes discs are in good condition.The car drives perfectly with no issues.; ;A genuine future Bmw Motorsport classic roadster.;;Hpi clear with a full book pack and both keys ,Comes with 12 mths Mot and 6 months comprehensive 5 star warranty.;;GBP 15995 px and down trades on request.;Delivery available to your door nationwide.;Viewing 7 days a week by appointment only please ;Similar cars always wanted for stock please go web site for more detail

    • Mileage: 63334 mi
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £16,495 £16,495

    Colour SatNav, Heated Seats, Full Leather, Electric Seats Great Condition, Lovely Colour Combination, Upgrades - Navigation System - BMW Professional Multimedia, Pure White Exclusive Design Package 35i, Adaptive M Sport Suspension, Electric Seat Adjustment with Driver Memory, Alloy Wheels - 19in V Spoke Style 296 35i, Comfort Access, Fineline Anthracite Interior Wood Trim,High-Gloss, Storage Compartment Package, Seat Heating, USB Audio Interface, Bluetooth Telephone Preparation, Full service history, Beige Full leather interior, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Kansas Leather Upholstery, Electric Windows (Front/Rear), Alarm, Rain Sensor with Automatic Headlamp Activation, Computer (Driver Information System), Tyre Pressure Control, Rain Sensor, Upholstery Leather, Alloy Wheels (18in), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3), Paint Metallic. 2 seats, Blue, FINANCE PACKAGES - With a number of lenders on board we are able to offer packages to suit individual circumstances. HPI CLEAR - All vehicles are provided with full HPI reports. WARRANTY - At Velvis Cars we provide every vehicle with a standard 3 month warranty through Auto Protect. An upgraded 6 month warranty, or wear and tear policies over 6 and 12 months are also available on request. Call or Text up to 10pm. 7 days a week. Please call James, Tom or Andrew to arrange a viewing, viewings best by appointment

    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £9,750 £9,750

    Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Power Steering, ABS, Air Bag, Brake Assist, Electric Mirrors, Auto-dip Rearview, Electric Front Windows, Electric Windows, Metallic Paintwork, Front Fog Lamps, Full Leather, Xenon Headlamps, Colour Coded Body, Immobiliser, Central Locking, Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Remote Central Locking, UK Supplied, UK Specification, Head Restraints, Powered Folding Mirrors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Alloy wheels, Full main dealer service history

    • Mileage: 11351 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £20,995 £20,995

    Half Leather, Dual Climate Zones, Satellite Navigation, Xenon Headlamps A Lovely Example With FDSH & Low Mileage As well As Coming With Numerous Desirable Upgrades, Upgrades - Navigation System - BMW Professional Multimedia, Loudspeaker System - BMW Professional, Adaptive M Suspension, Pure White Design Package, TV Function, Alloy Wheels - 19in M Star Spoke Style 326M 35is, Steering Wheel Heating, Windscreen with Grey Shade Band, Wind Deflector, Fineline Anthracite Interior Wood Trim,High-Gloss, Seat Adjustment with Driver Memory, Storage Compartment Package, Adaptive Headlights, USB Audio Interface, Connectivity Package, Sports Transmission, 6 months warranty, Next MOT due 01/05/2017, Last serviced on 29/04/2016 at 20,787 miles, Full dealership history, Beige Part leather interior, Standard Features - Air Conditioning, Automatic with Two - Zone Control, On - Board Computer (OBC), Hill - Start Assistant, Rain Sensor, Tyre Puncture Warning System (TPWS), Start - Stop Button with Chrome Detail, Metallic Paintwork, Alarm System (Thatcham 1) with Remote Control, Upholstery - Kansas Leather, Electric Windows - Front and Rear, with Open/Close Fingertip Control, Anti - Trap Facility and Comfort Closing Function All Round, Rain Sensor with Automatic Headlamp Activation, Kansas Leather Upholstery. 2 seats, Black, FINANCE PACKAGES - With a number of lenders on board we are able to offer packages to suit individual circumstances. HPI CLEAR - All vehicles are provided with full HPI reports. WARRANTY - At Velvis Cars we provide every vehicle with a standard 3

    • Mileage: 22000 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £10,447 £10,447

    FINANCE PACKAGES AVAILABLE- We offer this Two Owner BMW Z4 in Fantastic Condition throughout and with a Full Service history. This Z4 has £7,000 Worth of Extras and what a Stunning Colour Combination! Here at Auto-Sportiva we are an AA Approved Garage so Buy with Confidence. Ask about our Extendable AA Warranties. Spec Includes- Pure White Exclusive Design Package 23i, Alloy Wheels - 18in V Spoke Style 294, Loudspeaker System - BMW Business, USB Audio Interface, Parking Distance Control Front and Rear, Bi-Xenon Headlights, Bluetooth Telephone Preparation, Voice Control, Rear - View Mirror Automatically - Dimming, Seat Heating, Extended Lighting, Through - Load With Integrated Transport Bag, Storage Compartment Package, Rain Sensor with Automatic Headlamp Activation, Power Folding Wing Mirrors, Multifunction Steering Wheel, Dual Climate Control, 2 Keys, Next MOT due 01/07/2017, Last serviced on 23/06/2016, Standard Features - Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Alarm, Tyre Pressure Control, Electric Windows (Front/Rear), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3), Computer (Driver Information System), Airbags, Power steering, Traction control. 2 seats, Metallic Black Sapphire, WE ALWAYS RECOMMEND CALLING OUR SALES TEAM PRIOR TO VIEWING ONE OF OUR VEHICLES TO AVOID ANY DISAPPOINTMENT IF SOLD - FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT - www.auto-sportiva.com. Vehicles Supplied fully inspected, Valeted and with a Comprehensive Warranty and Clear HPI report so Buy with Confidence. Extendable AA Warran

    • Mileage: 77825 mi
    • Engine size: 2497
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £5,995 £5,995

    Climate Control, Full Leather, Anti-Theft System, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Sports Seats, Front Fog Lamps, Multiple Airbags, ABS, Trip Computer, Traction Control, Power Steering, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Hood, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, Radio, Alloy Wheels BMW cars Sports Coupe Roadster 16'' Alloy Wheels Front Fog Lights Full Leather Stunning !

    • Mileage: 68530 mi
    • Engine size: 1995
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 2.2 i SE Roadster 2 dr 2004

    £4,295 £4,295

    BMW Z4 2.2 I SE in stunning metallic black with full leather interior, high spec model with parking sensors and full leather seats, genuine miles from new with lots of history including stamps in the book and a wallet full of service invoices, maintained to a very high standard, looks and drives great, viewing is essential, mot till November 2017, we are consumer credit licensed with low rate finance options available, same day finance arranged with our finance partners Close Brothers Motor Finance, we accept any part exchange regardless of condition or age, drive away insurance available, nationwide delivery can be arranged, parts and labour warranty included in sale, all cars are hpi clear with up to date certificate, viewings and test drives are welcome but please call first as not all cars are stored on site, we are a fully vat registered limited company, please read our 5 star Autotrader reviews, all major debit and credit cards accepted.

    • Mileage: 87800 mi
    • Engine size: 2.2
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £21,995 £21,995

    BMW Professional Hi-Fi, DAB Tuner, Pearl Paint Exactly As You Would Expect From a Car With Such Low Miles, Not a Mark or Blemish, Incredible White Pearl Against Coral Red Leather, Upgrades - BMW Professional Loudspeaker System, Alloy Wheels - 19in M Double-Spoke Style 326 M, Wind Deflector, Storage Compartment Package, DAB Tuner, Red Full leather interior, Standard Features - Auto Start-Stop (MSA), Voice Control, Manual Air Conditioning with Single-Zone Control, Kansas Leather, Bluetooth Hands - Free Facility, Tyre Pressure Monitor, BMW Professional Radio with Single CD Player (with MP3 Playback Capability) and Auxiliary Input Point for Auxiliary Playing Devices, Electric Windows - Front and Rear with Open/Close Fingertip Control, Anti - Trap Facility and Comfort Opening Function, Alarm System (Thatcham 1) with Remote Control, On-Board Computer (OBC), Start - Stop Button with Chrome Detail. 2 seats, White, FINANCE PACKAGES - With a number of lenders on board we are able to offer packages to suit individual circumstances. HPI CLEAR - All vehicles are provided with full HPI reports. WARRANTY - At Velvis Cars we provide every vehicle with a standard 3 month warranty through Auto Protect. An upgraded 6 month warranty, or wear and tear policies over 6 and 12 months are also available on request. Call or Text up to 10pm. 7 days a week. Please call James, Tom or Andrew to arrange a viewing

    • Mileage: 1200 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
  • BMW Z4

    £8,450 £8,450

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Traction Control, Power Steering, Bluetooth, Power Hood, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, CD Player, Radio, Multiple Airbags, ABS, Remote Central Locking, 18'' Alloys, Service history GREAT VALUE Z4 WITH INDIVIDUAL HEATED LEATHER SEATS, COMFORT PACK, BLUETOOTH., THIS VEHICLE IS SUPPLIED WITH A NEW 12 MONTH MOT, PRE DELIVERY INSPECTION, WARRANTY, AND 12 MONTHS FREE AA BREAKDOWN COVER OR AN UPGRADE IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY A MEMBER. GREAT FINANCE PACKAGES INCLUDING LOW CREDIT SCORE AND ZERO DEPOSIT - USUALLY A DECISION IN MINUTES. PAY NOTHING FOR THE FIRST 2 MONTHS. DEBIT/CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED. FAMILY RUN BUSINESS ESTABLISHED FOR OVER 20 YEARS. FREE LOCAL TRAIN STATION PICK UP AND NATIONAL DELIVERY AVAILABLE. CHECK OUT OUR INDEPENDENTLY COLLECTED FEEDBACK - OVER 400 GREAT REVIEWS.

    • Mileage: 25000 mi
    • Engine size: 1995
    For sale
  • BMW Z4 Z4 SDRIVE23I ROADSTER 2010

    £14,950 £14,950

    Deep Sea Blue metallic with Ivory White leather and Anthracite wood trim.;;Only 17000mls from new with full service history!!;;Superb spec includes GBP 7000 of optional extras including Automatic Sports transmission with paddle shift,19in light alloy V-spoke alloys,Pure White Exclusive design package,Park Distance Control,heated seats,wind deflector plus all usual refiements including Climate control,Traction control etc.;Registration no not included.

    For sale
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